Preparing meals for the residents is the main responsibility of the food and nutrition services department. Making sure these meals are accurate is important for many reasons. While most residents will be on a general/regular diet, some will be on a special modified diet such as carbohydrate controlled, renal, no added salt or texture modifications. A resident may need a special diet for congestive heart failure, diabetes, or renal disease. Those needing a special diet can be at a health risk if the wrong foods are served to them. Residents requiring a mechanically altered diet such as those with dysphagia can be at risk for aspiration, pneumonia and/or death if they are not served the correct texture.
It is extremely important that residents receive the proper nourishment to meet their nutritional needs. The doctor/dietitian assume the diet that was ordered is being served as it was ordered. Diet errors may affect the treatment of the resident’s medical condition and outcome. Too much or too little food can result in unplanned weight loss or weight gain. Inaccurate diets can also result in citations from regulatory agencies.
Portion control is essential to the food service department because serving too little food can result in leftover food. Serving too much food can result in running out of food and higher food costs. Inaccurate portions can also result in citations from regulatory agencies.
Correct scoop and spoodle sizes must be used, and these should be listed on the recipe and spreadsheet to provide the proper serving size. A spoodle is a cross between a spoon and a ladle. A spoodle comes in both perforated and unperforated versions. Spoodles can easily be used for many types of dishes, like rice, vegetables, stews, soups, sauces, gravies, pastas, and prepared proteins. Scoops are typically used for mashed potatoes, casseroles, pureed foods, etc. Scoops and spoodles should be organized prior to the start of meal service to avoid any mistakes happening during meal service.
- #4 scoop = 1 cup
- #6 scoop = 2/3 cup
- #8 scoop = ½ cup
- #10 scoop = 3 oz.
- #12 scoop = 1/3 cup
- #16 scoop = ¼ cup
By adhering to proper food portioning and serving the correct food to the resident their unique nutritional needs will be met daily. The dietitian can assist with doing in-services to dietary staff to assure proper portions are being served at each meal.